Golf Course Management

MAR 2017

Golf Course Management magazine is dedicated to advancing the golf course superintendent profession and helping GCSAA members achieve career success.

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54 GOLF COURSE MANAGEMENT 03.17 Garvin's introduction to golf came cour- tesy of a former Major League Baseball All- Star. Chuck Hinton — the last Washington Senators player to bat .300 before the team moved to Texas — was coaching the baseball team at Howard University. Garvin, a pitcher on that team, always wondered where Hinton disappeared early in the morning. "He was going to play golf," Garvin says. "I told him I wanted to go with him. I'd never thought about playing golf, but it was such a thrill. As a minority, I thought it was some - thing I could hang my hat on." Being a minority is exactly what motivated Turner to become an influence in golf. "When my wife and I were in the military in the 1990s, we were looking for some land in Mississippi, and a realtor took us to a neigh - borhood that had a nice golf course," Turner says. "He said, 'No, you won't end up here — not on this golf course.' Really, he was telling me point-blank that we're black and wouldn't step foot on that golf course." Fast-forward to two years ago, and Turner, who was interested in business land develop - ment, received a call about 162 acres — fea- turing a golf course — situated in the middle of a community called Marlton. He immedi - ately called Jones and Blakeney. They teamed to purchase Marlton, later adding Garvin as co-owner and general manager. The facility features a driving range, restaurant, sports lounge and entertainment area, with plans in the works for a sports apparel shop. "It always was in the back of my mind, what happened all those years before," Turner says. "I may not have been able to get on that golf course in Mississippi in 1995, but now I owned my own golf course less than 15 min - utes from the nation's capital." Visions of hope People like Sondra Williams and her 4-year-old granddaughter, Kylie, represent Marlton's vision. Williams signed up as a vol - unteer for "Golf. My Future. My Game." after Kirby's dedication to it cemented her belief in the cause. "I've seen Craig's commitment, his enthusiasm. They are reaching young people of color and showing them about the game, this world, early on. A sense of inclusion, be - longing, is happening there," says Williams, who takes Kylie to Marlton's driving range to hit balls. "It is taking these kids on a dif - ferent journey — things that translate to all aspects of their lives, like conducting yourself in a kind, courteous manner. Plus, they are learning a demanding game that causes you to step up." Superintendent Brian Judd chose to leave a facility where he'd worked for 24 years to be part of Marlton GC's team and its vision. Photo by Kea Taylor each arrived at that objective in their own unique way. For much of his life, Kirby was more about politics than golf. He served as youth direc - tor for Rev. Jesse Jackson's National Rainbow Coalition, and as political adviser to then- D.C. Mayor Anthony Williams. Later, he was special assistant to the White House Chief of Staff for President Bill Clinton. By that time, though, golf had already hooked Kirby. While he was a defensive back on scholarship at Albion (Mich.) College, friends persuaded him to come play golf with them. He was skeptical, mainly because no - body had presented him with such an oppor- tunity before. "I was too embarrassed to tell them that I never played. In grade school, I'd pass by a golf course a minimum of twice a day, but no one thought to share anything about golf with me," he says. "And I never went to the course, because I didn't think that was what I was supposed to do." After getting acquainted with the sport in college, Kirby succumbed to the bug. "You hit a shot — an occasional miracle — that keeps you coming back," he says. "They are reaching young people of color and showing them about the game, this world, early on." — Sondra Williams

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